26 April 2007

Back in the Saddle

First, thank you to everybody who sent kind wishes after my last post. We had a memorial service here at school, and are now moving forward.

In the past two weeks, I've traveled up and down the east coast looking for work, carrying a sign reading: Will Teach for Food. The process continues (and my anxiety grows), but I'm closer to having a couple of prospects now than I was a few weeks ago. It's very strange to think that three months from now I will be living and working somewhere entirely different, somewhere that I don't yet know, but it's also exciting.

I haven't quite known how to get back to writing here, because I've been so scattered psychologically and geographically recently that I have few coherent thoughts. But what's a blog for if not for incoherent thoughts, eh?

And what else is a blog for if not shameless self-promotion -- thus, my first incoherent thoughts are about new books that contain my occasional bits of fiction, such as The Flash, an anthology of very short stories edited by Peter Wild and published by Social Disease in the U.K. Proceeds from the book benefit Amnesty International. The Flash includes not only stories by immensely famous writers such as myself, but also stories by unknown writers such as Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody, Aimee Bender, Jeff VanderMeer, Sara Gran, Clare Dudman, Jeffrey Ford, Paul Di Filippo, Shelley Jackson, Laird Hunt, Daniel Wallace, and other up-and-comers.

Arriving next week to a bookstore near you (I hope) is John Klima's anthology Logorrhea, which includes twenty-one stories based on words from the National Spelling Bee. My story, "The Last Elegy", takes up where the word elegiacal left off. I just got a copy of the book, and though I haven't had a chance to read any of the stories in full yet, I have read the first paragraphs of most of them, and I like every one of them better than my own, so I recommend the book enthusiastically.

Enough about me. Here's a book you should buy: Dark Reflections, the new novel by Samuel R. Delany. I haven't read it yet, but will very soon. It's not science fiction or fantasy, but rather the story of a black gay poet in New York City's Lower East Side over the past fifty years or so. Edmund White gave it a great blurb ("one of the most honest books I've ever read about the martyrdom of the writer in the contemporary world"), and Publisher's Weekly said, "Delany transforms poetry's status as the most ignored field of American letters into a devastating and beautifully written study of the loneliness and despair that so often accompany the life of the mind in America." I haven't looked forward to reading a book this much in a long time.

And over at the LitBlog Co-op, it's Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die Week. I really admired how carefully the book was written and imagined, but it's just one of those books that I couldn't develop any passion for, one of those books that I'm entirely the wrong reader for its particular sort of construction, so I don't really have anything to contribute to the discussion, but I definitely recommend people take a look and see if it's their kind of thing, because what it does, it does well.

I have piles -- PILES! -- of books waiting to be read and reviewed here, there, and everywhere. I won't get to even a quarter of the ones I want to, never mind the ones that have just sprouted in the corner of my apartment like kudzu or kipple. I'm hoping to get some new and old guest reviewers writing stuff here, picking up my slack, but until then I'll probably do a post or two about books that particularly seem to stand out from the pack amongst the many making my shelves bow and the floors groan, and I'll try a couple of give-aways, too. Soon, soon....

4 comments:

  1. Wow, that Delany book sounds amazing.

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  2. Thanks for the tip on Delany. Nothing like an honest book.

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  3. I don't know how close you were to the young man who passed away, but my condolences. He sounds like a remarkable person whose loss is deeply felt.
    Good luck with the job search. Been there and done that more than I care to admit, and it is never fun.

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  4. Thanks for including the link to the story on the memorial service. Something about it made me feel both insignificant and uplifted; it's incredible how one person touches so many people.

    Best wishes on the continuing hunt for work.

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